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Activate MATLAB Installation Manually

Activation Overview

Activation is a process that verifies licensed use of MathWorks® products. This process validates the license and ensures that it is not used on more computers or by more users than allowed by the license option you have acquired. Normally, the installer continues to activation as part of the entire installation process, and there is no action for the end user.

However, there may be occasions to manually activate the software, for example, if the activation during installation fails for some reason, or if the installation was performed using a File Installation Key and no license was supplied.

This topic describes how to activate the software manually should you need to.

If you are an end user who has been asked to activate MATLAB® software that was not installed by you, follow the procedure in Activate Installation Using Internet Connectionif you have an Internet connection. If you do not, follow the instructions in Activate Installation Offline.

Activate Installation Using Internet Connection

Step 1: Start Activation Application

To start the activation application, use one of the following methods:

  • Leave the Activate MATLAB check box selected on the Installation Complete dialog box at the end of installation. When the end user starts MATLAB, the activation process automatically starts.

  • If you have MATLAB already running, on the Home tab, in the Resources section, select Help > Licensing > Activate Software.

  • Navigate to your MATLAB installation folder and open the activation application.

    • Windows® Systems — Double-click the activate_matlab.exe file in matlabroot\bin\$ARCH folder, where matlabroot is your MATLAB installation folder, and $ARCH is a platform-specific subfolder, for example: matlabroot\bin\win64 .

    • Linux and macOS Systems — Execute the script in the matlabroot\bin folder.

  • macOS Systems — Double-click the activation application icon in the MATLAB application package. To view the contents of the MATLAB application package, right-click (or Ctrl+click) the package and select Show Package Contents.

Step 2: Choose Whether to Activate Using Internet or Without Internet

Choose whether to activate using an Internet connection or activating offline.

  • If you are connected to the Internet, leave the Activate automatically using the Internet (recommended) option selected. Activating immediately after installation is the quickest way to start using MATLAB.

  • If you are not connected to the Internet, select Activate manually without the Internet. If you select this option, you need a license file to activate manually. Your license file identifies the products you can run. Contact the Administrator of the license to get the file if you do not already have it.

Using a Proxy Server.  If your Internet connection requires a proxy server, click the Connection Settings button. You can enter the server name and port information in the Proxy Settings dialog box, and access other activation options. MathWorks supports several types of proxy configurations: Basic authentication and Digest authentication.

On Windows and macOS computers, the activation application uses your computer proxy settings by default. . If the proxy settings are not set, you can click Connection Settings to manually set them.

Step 3: Sign In to Your MathWorks Account


If you continued with activation immediately after installation, and you logged in to your account during installation, the activation application skips this step.

Enter the email address and password of your MathWorks Account and click Next. The activation application contacts MathWorks to retrieve the licenses linked to your account. If you have enabled Two-Step Verification on your account, enter the verification code sent to your primary method.

If you do not have a MathWorks Account, select the option I need to create an Account (requires an Activation Key) and click Next.

If you already have a license file, select the option Enter the full path to your license file, including the file name, specify the complete path to the file, and click Next. After specifying the license file, the activation application skips all the subsequent steps in the process and goes directly to the Activation Complete dialog box.


Your license file identifies the products you can run. Contact the administrator of your license to obtain this license file.

Create MathWorks Account.  To create an account, enter your email address, first name, last name, and password. You must also provide an Activation Key. A newly created account does not have any licenses linked to it. The Activation Key identifies the license you want to activate.

The administrator on the license can retrieve the key by going to the License Center at the MathWorks website.

Click Next to create your account.


When you create a new MathWorks Account, you must verify your email address before you can proceed with activation. Before you click Next in the Email Verification Required dialog box, go to your email program, open the message from MathWorks, and click the verification link. Then return to this dialog box and click Next.

Step 4: Select License

Select a license from the list of licenses linked with your MathWorks Account and click Next.

If you want to activate products on a license that is not linked to your MathWorks Account, select the Enter an Activation Key for a license not listed option, enter an Activation Key, and click Next. An Activation Key is the unique code that identifies a license. You can use the key to activate a license or to link a license to your account. Ask the administrator of the license for the Activation Key.

Step 5: Specify User Name

If you selected an Individual License, you must specify the operating system user name of the person who intends to use the software. The Individual License limits use of the software to a particular user on a particular computer. MathWorks uses the operating system user name to identify this person. The operating system user name is the ID through which a user gains access to a computer. This ID is also known as the login name. To use MathWorks software, you must be logged in to the computer as the user name that you specify.

By default, the activation application fills in the user name of the person running the activation application. To accept this default, click Next. If you used your administrator account to install the software but intend to use another account to access the software, you can specify that user name here, and then click Next.


The installer skips this step for a Designated Computer license. See your license administrator if you have any questions.

Step 6: Confirm Your Activation Information

If all the information displayed is correct, click Confirm.

To activate an installation, MathWorks creates a license file that:

  • Restricts use to only the computer with the installation

  • Restricts use to a particular user if you have activated an Individual License

The installer then copies this license file onto your computer. This license file enables you to run MathWorks products on your computer. MathWorks also keeps a record of the activation in MathWorks systems.

Step 7: Complete Activation

After activating your installation, click Finish to exit the activation process.

Step 8: What's Next?

Now that MATLAB and any accompanying products have been installed, you are ready to begin using MathWorks software.

See one of the following topics to get started:

Activate Installation Offline

Step 1: Start Activation

Because you were not logged in to your MathWorks Account during installation, or you started the activation application independently, you must choose whether to activate automatically or manually. Select the Activate manually without the Internet (recommended) option and click Next.

Step 2: Specify Path to License File

To activate without an Internet connection, you must have a license file. The license file identifies which products you can run. The administrator on the license can retrieve the license file from the License Center at the MathWorks website. Select the Enter the full path to your license file, including the file name option and enter the full path to your license file in the text box (or drag and drop the file) and click Next.

If you do not have your license file, select the I do not have a license file option and click Next to get information about how to retrieve a license file.

If You Do Not Have a License File

Save the information displayed in the dialog box. You can print a copy of this information by clicking Print. Take the information to a computer with an Internet connection and go to the License Center at the MathWorks website. MathWorks uses this information to generate a File Installation Key and a license file. You must have this information with you when you return to the computer on which you want to install and activate the software. To exit the activation application, click Finish.

Your installation is not activated yet. You cannot run MATLAB until you retrieve your license file.

Step 3: Complete Activation

After activating your installation, click Finish to exit the activation process.

Step 4. What's Next?

Now that MATLAB and any accompanying toolboxes have been installed, you are ready to begin using MathWorks software. See one of the following topics to get started:

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